Most IT budgets are spent maintaining existing systems, so many organizations find it difficult to invest in innovation.

New technologies can feel particularly overwhelming for small and midsized businesses, where resources are often limited, speakers said at a recent CDW summit, “Transforming the Customer Experience with Digital Modernization,” in New Orleans. However, there are simple ways to drive digital transformation. At the heart of that process is a shift in focus toward mobile platforms.

The Human Factor

Speakers at the summit, including experts from some of the world’s leading technology vendors, such as Cisco Systems, Apple and CDW, discussed some universal truths: We’re all customers, we all have high expectations and we all want to save time.

Organizations need to discover and solve problems for their customers, noted Tom Kelley, general manager of IDEO, an international design and consulting firm, during the summit.

“I would say a universal [goal] is about simplicity,” said Kelley. “Let me just say, all of your customers would be happy if you made their lives simpler.”

Meanwhile, many business owners are often in meetings all day, and when they have to put out fires, those meetings get moved, explained one panelist.

In the midst of all of this chaos, business and IT leaders need to remember that people want to be inspired create, experience and achieve things.

It’s important to factor that in to the way people work and the objectives that are set for employees because it creates a focus around empathy for customers and an awareness around how organizations can engage their customers and respond to their emotional needs, the panelists said.

Apple’s App Store, which now has more than 2.2 million applications, is an interesting manifestation of all of those truths, an Apple executive said, because it offers apps capable of handling anything from simple to complex tasks. Most users who were asked during a session at the summit said they favor consumer apps like Runkeeper, Shazam, Twitter and Waze, which save them time or make their lives easier.

Most people favor apps they use as consumers, which makes the job of IT professionals more difficult, the panelists noted. That’s because the consumerization of IT has caused both customers and internal company users to expect the same kind of technology experience at work that they have with their consumer-focused apps.

That’s difficult to achieve for several reasons. One is that budgets have increasingly flowed to line-of-business entities and away from IT. In fact, IDC expects that, by 2020, LOB technology spending will be nearly equal to that of IT departments.

Ongoing Evolution

With a desktop-centric mindset still dominating a lot of thinking, the IT industry has not been set up to enable this shift toward mobile platforms, the panelists said.

This lack of robust mobile capabilities makes it difficult to build trust in mobile apps, which makes organizations reluctant to move apps from the desktop to mobile platforms. Without trust, an organization is far less able to leverage technology to drive innovation.

Digital transformation can seem like a massive undertaking, but if businesses think about their end users and how to leverage their underlying technologies — especially mobile solutions and the cloud — they can be more nimble and disruptive.

Organizations need to focus on users first and think of ways that mobile solutions can complement the desktop experience. Alternatively, they can shift to native mobile app development, delivering the capabilities users demand on the platform they often prefer most.

At the end of the day, organizations should strive to make users’ lives simpler and help them save time, the panelists said. That’s something we can all appreciate.

Learn more about how your organization can enhance its customers’ experience.